The “Gay” Questions are not the Only Questions

*Originally Published in the Northern Iowan*

     Since I came out over two years ago, there have been a variety of things I have had to face head on. With the ability to live freely as a gay man, aside from the negative effects of harassment, there are also different aspects of being an LGBT person in Iowa and let’s face it, that number is slim to none. 

     One may think the harassment, bullying and insecurity of being gay would be overwhelming, but once you are able to make peace with that fact, there are other obstacles an LGBT person is going to face. Once you out yourself to the world it is almost as if you have openly volunteered yourself as a walking scientific experiment. 

     The questions start to be asked. How long did you know? Do you have a boyfriend? How do you have sex? What does your family think? Are you going to get married? Do you want children? Are you going to adopt? 

     The barrage of constant questioning becomes increasingly annoying especially as the years pass and you yourself have already managed to answer these questions in your own mind. 

     People want to interview you for a school project, they want to attend a gay related event with you, they want to include you in their paper. As much as I want to inform you about the inter-workings of a LGBT person, it really starts to make me feel even more isolated than before. I cannot help but feel like an animal in a zoo, just out in the open available for observation. 

     Nothing is as annoying as this simple sentence that usually happens when meeting a stranger, “I have a friend, he is the perfect guy for you!”

     While I thank you for trying to be my matchmaker, it is a little uncomfortable for you to rush towards your phone to find a picture of a guy that you think would be suitable for me. How do you even know we will be compatible? You haven’t even gotten to know me.

     It is not like gay people are Legos and we just connect instantly. Contrary to popular belief, gay people like to date and have different interests with each other as well. 

     Just try putting yourself in the shoes of an LGBT person. Being asked intimate questions in public, constantly having to be put on the spot in front of people, even for an outgoing person such as myself, it can become too much sometimes.

     If you really have questions for someone who happens to be homosexual, maybe you should wait until you get to know them. Then if those questions have not already been answered, try talking to them in a private conversation. Do not just assume because I am gay, I am constantly searching for a boyfriend and that my life revolves around my sexuality. Why don’t you ask me about what I am studying in school or about my stand-up comedy or my writing? I am so much more than my sexuality and, quite frankly, it gets annoying. Just remember that next time somebody asks you if you want to sleep with their friend when in a public setting in front of people. 

Riley Cosgrove